|Publication number||US3746601 A|
|Publication date||Jul 17, 1973|
|Filing date||May 20, 1971|
|Priority date||May 20, 1971|
|Also published as||CA954300A, CA954300A1, DE2224603A1|
|Publication number||US 3746601 A, US 3746601A, US-A-3746601, US3746601 A, US3746601A|
|Original Assignee||Masterpiece Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (9), Classifications (13)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
July 17, 1973 G. STRONY ARTIFICIAL SHRUB SUITABLE FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE] Filed May 20, 1971 INVENTORQ GLORIA L. STRONY svuzzatus 15M ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,746,601 ARTIFICIAL SHRUB SUITABLE FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE Gloria L. Strony, Peckville, Pa., assignor to Masterpiece, Inc., Blakely, Pa.
Filed May 20, 1971, Ser. No. 145,360
Int. Cl. A41g 1/00, 33/04; A411? 5/10 US. Cl. 161-24 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A vertically extending rod-like trunk member carries near its upper end in concentric fashion a thin snap ring while spaced downwardly from the same the trunk member carries a second snap ring of larger diameter. The peripheries of the snap rings are notched, and limb assemblies consisting of a generally straight main limb and cross limbs extending outwardly therefrom are snapped into frictionally clamped position within aligned notches at spaced locations along the main limb whereby the limb assemblies complete a conically configured artificial shrub.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to the manufacture of artificial shrubs and more particularly to an artificial shrub construction suitable for indoor or outdoor use and which requires little time to assemble the same.
Description of the prior art Two types of artificial shrugs or trees are presently in vogue. One type of construction employs a relatively small diameter rod normally formed of wood which acts as the vertically extending tree runk with the rod being provided with a series of radial holes which are diagonally drilled at an angle to the axis to the trunk and extend upwardly to receive the inner end of a multiple limb assembly formed of twisted wires which capture plastic filaments. These limb assemblies are preferably formed of one central or main limb and cross limbs have their filaments tapered to twisted wires which hold a great number of filaments at right angles to the axis of the twisted wires in the manner of a conventional brush. The limbs and filaments are colored to represent a natural coniferous shrub or tree, preferably green or blue-green, and the outer ends of the main limb and cross limbs have their filaments tapered to simulate a natural tree Whose tip needles are much shorter than those inwardly thereof. The outer ends of the cross limbs and the outer end of the main limb are bent upward- 1y while the inner terminal end of the main limb is preferably bent downwardly at a slight angle to insure that once positioned within the radially inclined holes in the trunk, any imbalance because of the presence of the cross limbs will not permit rotation of the main limb about its axis due to the presence of the bent portion between the terminal portion which is inserted within the diagonal hole of the trunk, and the point where the cross limb is coupled to the main limb element and is normally wrapped thereabout.
A second construction involves a similar cylindrical trunk member and a plurality of limb assemblies which consist similarly of a main limb carrying at spaced longitudinal positions cross limbs which extend outwardly therefrom and to one side to form a frustoconical sector. However, the upper end of the main limb is hooked, and the cylindrical trunk member has a plurality of short tubular members positioned near the top of the trunk member and in a circumferential array around the trunk member with the hooked ends of respective limb assemblies being car- 3,746,601 Patented July 17, 1973 ried by the individual short tubes. In this fashion, and in conjunction with a preformed top member, the frustoconical sectors complete an otherwise conical shrub, in most cases simulating a natural coniferous tree.
The use of the hooked main limb permits the major portion of the main limb to extend downwardly and outwardly and in conjunction with side branches or cross limbs allows the completion of sector shaped limb assemblies which may be spaced about the circumference of the trunk member and may complete a shrub or tree with a relatively small number of limb assemblies. There is a tendency for the hooked limb assemblies to swing within their support means on the vertically extending trunk and, in addition, there exists in some cases noticeable gaps between the sectors as a result of the tendency of the limb assemblies to rotate about the small tubular members coupled to the central trunk.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to an improved artificial shrub which may be assembled in a matter of seconds by the simple expedient of snapping preformed limb assemblies into frictional clamping position with respect to the trunk member and in which no separate top is necessary. The branches are thereby prevented from swinging or swaying and do not leave noticeable gaps between the sector shaped limb assemblies. Further, the conical configuration to the shrub may be modified quite readily by simply axially shifting one of the limb support members with respect to the other.
Specifically, the artificial shrub comprises a vertically extending trunk member, a plurality of limb assemblies including a generally straight main limb and a plurality of cross limbs extending outwardly therefrom at spaced longitudinal positions. Means carried by the trunk member frictionally clamps the vertically oriented limb assemblies to the trunk member at circumferentially spaced positions. In particular, the trunk member may comprise a thin cylindrical rod and the means for frictionally clamping the limb assemblies comprises a pair of discs or snap rings, concentrically carried by said rod at longitudinally spaced positions. Each of the snap rings has spaced about its periphery, localized frictional clamping means for the limb assemblies, preferably in the form of circumferentially spaced, semi-circular notches of a diameter on the order of the main limb, so that the main limb is simply snapped into engagement with circumferentially aligned notches of respective discs to complete the assembly. The rod-like trunk may have an axial hole at its upper end and receive a specially formed tree top or one of the main limbs may be extended and incorporate additional cross limbs to define a top which lies vertically upward, above the upper ring to complete a shrub having the appearance of a natural coniferous tree. Preferably, each limb assembly is formed of twisted wire and filament brush material captured thereby and flexible tubes may be concentrically carried by the intertwisted Wires intermediate of the spaced, radially extending cross limbs to effect spacing and to simulate the bark of the shrub. One or both of the snap rings may be axially shifted to change the conical configuration of the tree thereby providing one which is tall and thin or one which may be fatter and thus achieve the desired degree of bushiness for the overall tree or shrub.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partially schematic, exploded lview of a shrub as partially assembled, illustrating the method of frictionally coupling coupling the individual limb assembly to the vertically extending tree trunk via longitudinally spaced snap rings.
FIG. 2 is a setcional view of one of the snap rings forming a part of the assembly of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partially schematic, elevational view of a top position of a second embodiment of the invention as partially assembled.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS :Referring to the drawings, the artificial shrub of the present invention takes the form of an artificial coniferous tree. In this respect the artificial shrub consists of a stand 10, a rod-like trunk member 12 extending upwardly therefrom which may take the form either of a hollow metal tube of a diameter between /2 inch and several inches and a length of, for instance, on the order of two feet or more or may be appropriately formed of wood or plastic. The structure is quite simple and consists in addition to the rod-like trunk member 12, of a plurality of longitudinally spaced, circumferential coaxially positioned discs or snap rings, preferably two as indicated at 14 and 16 respectively. Reference to FIG. 2 shows a disc or snap ring 14 being formed of plastic or metal and is press fitted to the trunk 12, as for instance by having its inner peripheral surface 18 serrated so as to frictionally grip the surface of the wood, plastic or steel trunk member 12. If necessary, additional means may be employed for securely fastening or fixing the snap rings 14 and 16 to the trunk member 12 at axially or longitudinally spaced positions. The outer periphery 20 of each snap ring is provided with circumferentially spaced notches or grooves 22 which are semi-circular in cross sectional configuration and define opposed rounded edges 24 which are spaced slightly smaller than the diameter of the notch or groove 22 itself. The spaced snap rings 14 and 16 are mounted on the trunk member 12 such that the notches 22 of the upper snap ring 14 are in circumferential alignment with the notches 22 of the lower ring 16.
The major component of the assembly consists of a plurality of limb assemblies 26 consisting of a main limb 28 and a plurality of cross limbs or side branches 30 The main limb may be formed of intertwisted stiffiy flexible wire rods 32 and the cross limbs 30 may be formed of intertwisted wires 34 and captured plastic filaments 36, which material constitutes brush stock which have been employed in the past ten years or so in the manufacture of artificial Christmas trees.
Since the lower disc or snap ring 116 has a diameter in excess of that of the upper snap ring 14, the main limb 28 formed by the intertwisted wire rods 32, although being relatively straight, is maintained at an angle at each circumferentially spaced location by having the limb snapped into the frictional gripping notches 22 of both rings as illustrated in FIG. 1. In that respect, in assembling the limb assembly 26, a plurality of short sections or flexible tubes 38 are provided intermediate of the longitudinally spaced cross limbs 30 to maintain the cross limbs at preferred longitudinal positions during the assembly or manufacture of the limb assemblies, in which case the diameter of the flexible tubes 38 is generally on the order of the notches 22 and since the tubes are deformable, they may readily deform momentarily when they are snapped into the notches 22 as illustrated in FIG. 1.
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the top of the trunk member 12 is drilled axially as indicated at 40' and receives a tree top 42 which in itself constitutes a number of limbs formed of twisted wire and captured filaments in like manner to the cross limbs '30 of limb assemblies 26. In this case, the central or main limb of the top 42 is inserted directly within the axial hole 40 to complete the assembly.
In alternate fashion, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the top 42' consists of a plurality of branches formed directly on one of the limb assemblies 26, the cross limbs being somewhat longer at the top than those adjacent thereto, so as to readily form in integral fashion with one of the limb assemblies 26, a top. This eliminates the necessity for a pre-drilled hole 40 within the trunk member 12 and a separate top 42.
From the above, it is readily apparent that the artificial tree or shrub of the present invention can be snapped together in a matter of seconds and in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 3, a separate top is unnecessary. Since the branches cannot swing or sway, no gaps can be seen between the various circumferentially spaced limb assemblies. The cross limbs 30 may be spread to the right and left and therefore define sector shaped limb assem blies, which when circumferentially spaced completely about the circumference of the snap rings 14 and 16 to fill all of the available aligned slots or recesses 22, effect a complete and bushy conical shrub or tree. While in the illustrated embodiment, only four circumferentially spaced notches or grooves 22 are shown, it is obvious that for a bushier tree, additional grooves may be provided, the grooves being equally spaced about the circumference of the snap rings 14 and 16. [In addition, by shifting the lower disc or snap ring 16 downwardly away from disc 14, the limb assemblies will be moved inwardly at the bottom to create a tree or shrub having a smaller diameter as indicated in dotted lines while the converse is true if the snap ring 16 is moved upwardly. If necessary, holes can be drilled in the trunks and pins inserted beneath the discs to maintain them in proper position. While the main limb 28 of the limb assemblies is defined in terms of intertwisted rods 32 carrying at longitudinally spaced locations, flexible tube sections 38 to space the cross limbs 30, the main limb may in itself constitute a solid rod to which the cross limbs are afiixed in some other manner and in which case the tubular spacers 38 are eliminated. In such case, the diameter of the solid rod defining the alternate form of the main limb 28 would be on the order of the semi-circular notches or grooves 22 within the snap rings 14 and 16 and the limb assemblies would snap into place in the identical manner. Forming the rings of plastic facilitates the snap assembly of the shrub.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in the form of detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An artificial shrub comprising:
a vertically extending trunk member,
a plurality of limb assemblies including a generally straight main limb and cross limbs extending outwardly therefrom at spaced longitudinal positions, and
at least two axially spaced limb assembly support members carried by said trunk member for supporting the main limb of said assemblies at longitudinally spaced positions to form a circular array surrounding said trunk member and at least one of said support members including a circular periphery carrying at spaced circumferential positions notches of a size corresponding to the diameter of said main limb of each limb assembly with said main limb of each assembly snapped into a respective notch to effect frictional clamping of said main limb to said at least one support member.
2. The artificial shrub as claimed in claim 1, wherein said support members comprise upper and lower snap rings coaxially carried by said rod at longitudinally spaced positions, both said snap rings carry notches on the periphery of said rings at spaced circumferentially aligned positions, said notches are semi-circular in form and of a diameter on the order of that of the main limb whereby said main limbs are simply snapped into circumferentially aligned notches of both rings to effect frictional clamping of said main limbs to said snap rings.
3. The artificial shrub as claimed in claim 2, wherein said lower snap ring is of a larger diameter than that of the upper snap ring and said limb assemblies incline outwardly and downwardly to define a shrub of conical configuration.
4. The artificial shrub as claimed in claim 2, wherein said limb assemblies comprise: a main limb formed of a plurality of stifily flexible intertwisted wire rods, a plurality of radially extending cross limbs extending outwardly thereof and captured between said twisted wire rods at longitudinally spaced positions and flexible tubes concentrically carried by said intertwisted wire rods intermediate of said spaced, radially extending limb assemblies to simulate the bark of the shrub, said tubes being of a diameter on the order of that of said circumferentially aligned notches and received thereby to frictionally support said limb assemblies on said axially spaced snap rings.
5. The artificial shrub as claimed in claim 4, wherein the upper end of said trunk includes an axial hole extending inwardly therefrom, and said shrub is completed by a tree top consisting of a plurality of limbs formed of stifily flexible intertwisted wires and captured filament brush material with the terminal end of one limb thereof positioned within said axial hole.
6. The artificial shrub as claimed in claim 4, wherein one of said limb assemblies includes a plurality of cross limbs at the upper end thereof extending beyond the upper ends of the remaining cross limb assemblies and defining in conjunction with said limb assemblies, a tree top.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,577,873 3/1926 Root 16124 X 3,115,435 12/ 1963 Abrarnson 16124 2,826,845 3/1958 Warren 16124 1,555,621 9/1925 Barker 161-24 3,263,355 8/1966 March 211177 X PHILIP DIER, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3865676 *||May 14, 1973||Feb 11, 1975||Marathon Mfg Co||Artificial tree construction|
|US4192699 *||Nov 25, 1977||Mar 11, 1980||Lewicki Gregory D||Method of making inflatable cellular assemblies of plastic material|
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|US4789570 *||Apr 29, 1986||Dec 6, 1988||Noma Inc.||Artificial shrub|
|US4855167 *||Sep 22, 1988||Aug 8, 1989||Biehl Harold A||Shaded outdoor parking area|
|US5114023 *||Jan 28, 1991||May 19, 1992||Lavin Janice A||Utility tray for intravenous pole|
|US7585552||Mar 15, 2007||Sep 8, 2009||Melinda Joanne Meseke||Apparatus and method of assembling an artificial tree and table surface decoration assembly|
|US9125508||Jun 28, 2013||Sep 8, 2015||Seasons 4, Inc.||Collapsible tree system|
|US20070215013 *||Mar 15, 2007||Sep 20, 2007||Melinda Joanne Meseke||Apparatus and method of assembling a decoration assembly|
|U.S. Classification||428/18, 211/205, 428/20|
|International Classification||A47G33/06, B44C5/06, A47G33/00, A41G1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||B44C5/06, A47G33/06, A41G1/007|
|European Classification||B44C5/06, A41G1/00D, A47G33/06|